“The Member of the Wedding” Feb 8 – Feb 23, 2002

MOW_poster_largeMcCullers adapted her novella for the stage, and the original 1952 production showcased the talents of Julie Harris as 13 year old Frankie Addams; Brandon De Wilde as her younger cousin, John Henry; and Ethel Waters as their housekeeper and nanny, Berenice. The play features Frankie Addams in the summer of her thirteenth year. It seems to Frankie that she just doesn’t belong anywhere anymore. Too old and tall to be considered a child, too gangly and rambunctious to be wanted as a member of the local clique of teenage girls, she is spending her summer literally knocking around her kitchen at home, playing three-handed bridge with Berenice and John Henry, and dreaming about joining the bigger world. The chance to escape her stifling hometown confines seems to present itself with the announcement that her brother is coming home from the army to get married. Frankie becomes determined that she will join her brother and his bride as they embark on their new life together. As she puts it, “They are the we of me!” Frankie’s hard-won lessons in the art of growing up are juxtaposed against the changing South of that period of time. Her desperate adolescence is played out against the solid, understanding adult presence of Berenice, and the dreamy, oddly mature child’s worldview of John Henry. The emotions of the play will be palpable to anyone who ever experienced the out-of-place feelings of being on the cusp of adulthood.